Monday, December 24, 2012

Snowbird Christmas

I found this poem in a blog some time ago. It is so appropriate in this lifestyle we now live and many of our readers of this blog. FYI, it was written by an rver….obviously. So on this Christmas Eve….enjoy


Snowbird Christmas Poem

by Irene Taves


'Twas the week before Christmas and all through the park,

Not a camper was stirring as it started getting dark.

Our Montana fifth wheel was outlined with many twinkling lights,

Our little Christmas tree inside warmed our hearts this peaceful night.

As the moon shined so brightly on the palm trees below,

How can we think "Christmas" without any snow?

While watching the Weather Channel and the cold way up north,

I know now why we snowbirds travel back and forth.

When all of a sudden, on came the colored lights

All over the park. Oh, what a festive sight!

All the neighboring campers joined in the celebration,

Ringing in the season without hesitation!

Some carolers were singing as they walked through the park,

Greeting their RV family with joy in their hearts.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

A man dressed in red, standing by his mechanical deer.

So jolly and laughing as he walked down the street,

I knew in a moment that soon Santa I would meet!

His hair and long beard were as white as could be,

No surprise in the 55 plus community.

He greeted all the campers, bringing joy to everyone,

Now this holiday season has officially begun!

As we welcome the season with our surrogate family,

We thank God we're Americans and able to be free.

Free to travel throughout this amazingly great land,

Free to enjoy our retirement for as long as we can.

So our wish to you all as our eggnog we sip,



‘Til next time……

Merry Christmas

We hope ALL of our rving friends out there have a very Merry Christmas.
Be safe in your travels.
Boldts Christmas-Magic Medium Web view

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Catching Up With the Boldts

We haven‘t posted for a while and we said we were going to post regularly. Why you say? The reality is we are enjoying our daily retirement lifestyle and don’t seem to find the time to write. Yeah, yeah, I know---lame excuse right? So let me get you caught up with some of our great times we are having.

I (Barbie) have been walking regularly with about 4 ladies almost every day. We walk at 8:30 am and walk a mile and talk. It is hard to believe I can walk and talk at the same time.  I get up at 7:20 and get dressed and take Kozmo for her walk which usually lasts 25 to 35 minutes and then come back and make the coffee so it will be ready by the time I get back from my walk. So I really am getting more walking than usual in and having a great time with the ladies while walking. Plus, all the gossip and park news we share!

Our great friends Linda and Bill Forrest who live in Auburndale came over for the day last Saturday, December 8, and we had a great time! I used to work with Linda when I taught math at Mann Middle School in Brandon, FL. She finally retired this past June and loves retirement also. We exchanged our Christmas gifts and went out to eat at Dan’s Clam Stand in Crystal River rather than Dan’s in Homosassa. The service was fantastic and Jeff and I agree that the food is better at the Homosassa location though. I guess we like the intimacy of the Homosassa place as opposed to the Crystal River one. Linda is purging all of her magazines and books and I have done the same so we have been exchanging our stuff before getting rid of it all. She gave me a Taste of Home food magazine and it is a great one. We both use our portable scanner and scan it and then put it on the computer into our files. I am going to save them on CD’s at some point in time to make sure I don’t lose all of it. We both have so much stuff that we are organizing and getting rid of it so we feel better. They are headed for Ohio to visit their son and family for a week for Christmas. Bill hasn’t retired yet because he loves what he is doing so Linda volunteers at Mann every other week and enjoys her retirement while he works.

We put up Christmas decorations inside and outside the rv last week. See below what some of them look like. We put up an artificial 4 foot tree in one corner by Jeff’s man cave and a ceramic one to the left of the TV on the entertainment center area.

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We also have some snowmen inside who look kind of neat.

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We put up lights around our 8 x 16 foot garden and then put bulbs on the front of the fiver that change colors. We still have a huge blue wreath that we had up last year but don’t know if we will put that up. We finally got into the Christmas spirit and it makes us more content and more into the holiday season. There are lots of people around here that have decorations up. It is amazing the decorations some rvers put up. I often wonder how they find the room in their rig to keep it all stored. One in particular here in the park has too much up in our opinions, but who are we to judge? They must want to win the campground’s site decoration contest.

Since Jeff and I don’t exchange gifts anymore we decided to buy what we wanted on the internet. I have been looking for some walking shoes and have not been successful. So I went on this site called and found two pairs that I really thought I would like. One is an Easy Spirit walking shoe and the other is a Propet sandal. I always wore SAS shoes before but the one pair that I have been wearing for the past 4 years is one they discontinued. Both shoes that I ordered came in last Wednesday and I love them both. I usually don’t order shoes on line because I have to send them back if I don’t like them immediately because they don’t fit well. These two fit great! Jeff’s shoes came in on the same day but delivered to our site rather than the post office like my two because they came UPS. His is a Dunham brand deck shoe and they are great looking and great feeling shoes. So we both lucked out on shoes.

Speaking of Christmas gifts I am looking for an apron to wear when I cook indoors. I have been getting my shirts really dirty when I cook and the stains are aggravating to get out. I haven’t worn an apron since I was 17 years old but they do have some great ones today. I am also going to get a Kindle cover for my Kindle. Since Linda gave me a gift certificate from Amazon. com I will definitely put it to good use.

I went to a candy making class last Friday in the clubhouse. There were only 7 people who were there but we really enjoyed making peanut butter cups.

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They are so simple to make. The ingredients were confectionary sugar, peanut butter, vanilla, and Ghiardelli dipping chocolate. I think I will use milk chocolate when I make it and try Smuckers natural brand peanut butter rather than the Skippy brand and Ghiardelli dark chocolate. Needless to say they are delicious!!! They had a class the previous week in which they made white chocolate bark with whatever ingredients you wanted to put in it like peanuts, M & M’s, pretzels, etc… They said it was very good and simple to make. Next week they are making truffles but we don’t like truffles that much so I won’t be going. The couple that teaches the class, Jillean and Tom, are from Wisconsin and are great people who just retired in October and have made Rock Crusher their winter home right now. They have a 1984 Barth motorhome and it is nice with wrap around windows with no slides.

We went to a new place in Crystal River called High Octane Saloon. We had heard that it was a biker’s bar but the night we went was very unique. They have two gigantic rooms that they use for dancing and music. On is used for live performers and the other for DJs. This particular Tuesday night was 50’s and 60’s night with a guy that looks like a cross between Wayne Newton and Elvis Presley. He was singing oldies, but the music also had background tracks singing in it. The crowd was unbelievable because there wasn’t anyone younger than 50 that we saw. The place was packed and people were dancing up a storm. They also have food which is made outside in a kitchen. On Mondays the food is $1.00 for things like chili, fries, fried pickels, and other stuff. On the outside of the big building is another building where they have the Internet Café and they were doing a nice business. We will definitely go back there.

We went to our stix-n-brix house for the first time on November 28 and stayed one night. I did 6 loads of laundry which seemed to have taken forever since two of the loads were blankets. We cleaned and brought back stuff like magazines, crafts, and Christmas ornaments to look at and possibly throw out. We don’t like going there but we have to get our mail every two weeks or so since they don’t hold it now because we had it forwarded for 6 months earlier. Eventually, we will get all the stuff out of the house by throwing it away, giving it to Goodwill or keeping it to sell later on. We still don’t feel like we are in a hurry but it is an inconvenience to have the house since we consider ourselves full-timers now.

We met Donna and Ralph (Our Adventures With Tassie blog) a few weeks ago. They are staying here until May. They have been sick or visiting their family in Pinellas County, so we haven’t gotten together yet. If you are reading this Donna and Ralph, we will get together soon!

Kozmo still loves this place, especially the squirrels and tortoises that she encounters daily. The weather has not been cooperative lately so we haven’t been able to sit outside for long periods of time due to the showers and the temperatures being on the cool side. But the weather is forecast to change and hopefully we will get some sun so it is not too dismal.

‘Til next time….

2012 Xmas Card

Boldts Ornament 2

Monday, November 19, 2012

Golf Cart Up & Running Again

On our last blog posted a week ago, we had mentioned our batteries in our golf cart were dead after repeated tries to charge the batteries individually, which we were actually able to do. At least they held enough charge initially to accept the golf cart charger. The problem remained that they would not hold a charge. We could get about 100 yards away from our site and it would be drained. Jeff researched local dealers in the area and found the best deal with a dealer located in Brooksville, about 25 miles away and they would deliver them and install them for a price less than the other 3 dealers would charge just for the batteries themselves.  So yes, we managed to get the batteries installed on Wednesday, November 14 and the golf cart is running very well. The only thing we want to do tomorrow is check the tires and make sure that they are properly inflated. It has been dreary around Crystal River the last four days. The sun actually showed its face on Saturday and a bit more Sunday, but the weather has felt cooler than normal. There have been winds that have made it cool enough for us to have to roll the awning in last night. Better weather is going to come through tomorrow with the high going up to 69 and more sun, we hope.

We went to a happy hour on the upper level here at Rock Crusher Canyon (RCC) on Thursday. There were about 24 people there. Tom and Jillene, new to RCC this year, served as hosts. What a setup they have. They have built wooden decks that go three quarters of the way around their motorhome. Plus, they have a covered pagoda and a fire pit area. It is truly a great setup. I must get some pictures to share. I made my pimento cheese spread and everyone  seemed to have liked it a lot. It was quite cool outside even though they had a fire going in the fire pit and citronella  torches on the perimeter of the deck. We had a great time and hopefully will go again.

We tried out a new restaurant in Crystal River on Friday morning called AJ’s Café. The wait staff used to work in Inverness at a place called Cock a Doodle Dos, which closed. We had breakfast and it was very good! We still like Kim’s Café in Homosassa, so this will definitely be a place to head to once a week. I love my bacon extra crispy and when I got it I thought it wasn’t going to be crispy enough. But, the bacon was thick and crispy and had a great flavor to it. The place was crowded for 9:30 in the morning but we didn’t have to wait. My new hairdresser works there on the weekends as a hostess, so hopefully we will go there on the weekend and see her sometime. We stopped at Home Depot after the breakfast and picked up some stain to do the steps and picnic table on our site. The color is called Robin’s Egg, so we are hoping it will look nice. It has gray and blue coloring in it. We’ll take pictures when the job is done.

I also took Kozmo to the vet on Friday afternoon to get her nails clipped. I could hear her in the back room yelp out once. I knew it was her. I just wanted to go back and take her out of there. But she can be a baby sometimes. I like the vet in Georgia who is the best around and they never had a problem with her “crying out”. The place in Crystal River put a turkey motif bandana on her neck as a reward. She doesn’t care for bandanas so she couldn’t wait to get that off. She was the center of attention today since I was going to give her a bath. She hid under Jeff’s chair but came out when I asked her to come with me. She is VERY good when I give her a bath. She has been sleeping a lot today… too much action. Smile

I (Barbie) started out walking last Monday with a group of ladies here at RCC and have been walking a mile every day except Saturday with the ladies. There is usually four to six in our group and I found I can actually talk and walk at the same time without huffing and puffing. We didn’t walk Saturday due to a breakfast in the clubhouse being served at 8:30. One of the walkers named Florie is one of the cooks so we decided not to walk. Florie is a sweet gal who is awaiting a new grandbaby soon. We didn’t go to the breakfast, so we slept in for an extra hour.  After some coffee, Jeff, Kozmo and I went to the craft show at the Armory in Crystal River. It was a nice one but I really didn’t buy anything for myself. I bought some homemade treats for Kozmo which she enjoyed. After the show, we went for a short drive and then to the new WalMart in Homosassa. It is smaller than most of them and it was OK. They do have some groceries although not the variety and amount that the Super WalMarts have. The only downfall was it was dark inside and had only one main entrance and exit. I decided to buy a turkey breast with some fixings to make next weekend since we are eating in the clubhouse on Thanksgiving Day with about 100 other people or so. Since we will have no leftovers,  not that we need them anyway, but turkey breast with some stuffing, cranberry sauce, creamed corn and Brussels sprouts should suffice for a few days. Plus, I am going to make my pumpkin bread again for breakfast instead of pumpkin pie or dessert. We will need to bring a dish to share for the dinner so I am making a sweet and spicy carrot dish. I will be trying it out tomorrow in case it doesn’t taste good. If it doesn’t taste good, I will make extra pumpkin bread instead. The park is supplying the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and rolls for $5.00 a head. We went last year and it was a nice affair. The only downfall is the clubhouse is small and has poor acoustics and I don’t think they are planning to correct it anytime soon. It makes it difficult to hear the people who are just two seats away from you.

When we were gone from the rig Saturday afternoon,  the guy who washes and waxes RV’s in RCC came and did ours. We were not pleased with the job this time. Apparently there are some pinhead black marks on the rig due to tree sap, we guess, and he couldn’t get it all off. So we won’t get him to do our rig anymore. He has done it every year we have been here but I don’t think he tried hard enough. I had gotten some of it off myself before we headed south and although it was difficult, I did it. He had washed and waxed a rig in the morning so maybe he was tired.

Our winter neighbors, Roger and Judy, arrived at 3PM Sunday afternoon. It was great seeing them back. They are from Massachusetts. We promised each other we would definitely go to eat at Dan’s Clam Stand while they are down here this year. We never could coordinate our schedules at the end of last season to go to Dan’s with them. Another neighbor, Brenda and David, arrived Friday night. They are across from us. They are from Indiana. Since they left their rig here in the summer they had some cleaning up to do in it so we finally got to see Brenda today at the same time as Roger and Judy arrived. A reminder from Brenda, NEVER set off a bug bomb in an rv at the end of the season as you leave for the north. That’s why she’d been cleaning for a couple of days and we hadn’t seen her.  It will be interesting to see how many people show up this week before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Homemade spaghetti was on the menu Sunday and Jeff said it was very good. I made the sauce on the stove to heat it up first and then put it in the crock pot to get the flavors infuse throughout the sauce for a while. Needless to say I have plenty of sauce left over. I am happy that it will freeze, too. I am not that fond of leftovers but will use some of it in a casserole.

Everyone have a great Thanksgiving holiday and don’t eat too much! For you crazies out there that go out shopping on “Black Friday”..…GOOD LUCK! Just know we want NO part of it.

‘Til next time…..

Monday, November 12, 2012

Back At Rock Crusher Canyon in Florida

Yes, it has been a very long time since we posted. But when you have been busy and not on the computer much, that is what happens. We just didn’t find the time to post anything.

The last 2 weeks at River Vista were busy for Big Daddy DJ. The third weekend in October, the Bluebird Chapter of the FMCA held a rally at River Vista. They brought about 55 Wanderlodge buses in for a “Friends of Family” 3rd Reunion Rally. They were there for 6 days. They booked Big Daddy DJ back in February. Originally they wanted a “Sock Hop” music theme but about 2 weeks prior to the rally, they let me know they wanted a Margaritaville/Island/Beach music theme. It wasn’t a problem as Jeff had lots of both types of music. They were a great group to play for and they even invited us to eat with them at their dinner that Saturday before the dance.

Then, the following Saturday, River Vista held their Halloween Weekend. The campground was full with many families and kids. The campground had activities for all ages Friday and Saturday. Saturday night culminated with the huge Big Daddy DJ Dance Party. We held contests for best costumes by age groups from 6 and unders to adults. I am glad we weren’t judging it because it was very hard to do. We saw lots of people who were repeat customers at River Vista from last Halloween and it was nice to talk to them again. Our friends Pat and Sandie Gregory came off the Franklin, NC mountain to be with us and another couple of friends, June and Jody Dobie for the evening. The Dobie’s have a very nice, new to them, motorhome that has 5 slides to it. It is a Mandalay made by Thor. This was their maiden voyage in it and they were having a great time. It was great seeing them! The two couples are members of the Roamin’ Rigs, an FMCA Tampa Bay Chapter. This was the club we belonged to all the years we had a motorhome. It was a great evening for sure. I’ll enclose a couple of pictures below. After that weekend, we planned to leave Dillard on that Tuesday but Superstorm Sandy was creating havoc on the coast and the winds were consistently 25+ miles per hour in Dillard so we postponed leaving for a couple of days.

Before the Dance Party

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The Dance Party

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IMG_0800   The Dobies and Gregorys.

We left Dillard, GA on Friday, November 2 and got to our winter RV site in Crystal River, FL on Sunday, November 4. We stayed the first night in Perry, GA at Fair Harbor RV Park. We had stayed there before and liked it. It was $35 a night which included cable and internet which were both great! We had only travelled four hours that day and wanted to go someplace close by. Closing down the Dillard place is always a time consuming job. We had to prep the golf cart and make sure we won’t come back to dead batteries next spring. We had to put everything away in the shed and make sure nothing could get to anything while we are gone. We had not closed the slides on the fifth wheel since April of this past year. We didn’t have any problems but we also had to check the tires and put air in them which took some time. We only check the tires when the slides are in since it is so difficult getting to them with the slides open. It only took us 8 minutes to hook up the truck to the fifth wheel, a new record time, and then we were on our way out of “Dodge”. We spent 6 ½ months in Dillard and we were ready to leave.

The second night on the road was spent at Oaks N’ Pines RV Resort in Lake City, FL. The cost was $19.80 (Passport America rate) for a pull through site which was supposed to have cable and internet services. Well, there was no cable and the internet service was slower than molasses pouring out of the bottle. The pull through was so close to the next site that we could have shared a cup of coffee with our neighbors. The roads were narrow, also. Needless to say we won’t stay there again.

We arrived at our RV site in Crystal River only 2 ½ hours after we left that park Sunday morning. It took us 15 minutes to get into the site just the way we wanted it. We were overwhelmed and embarrassed by all of the weeds that had grown up around our site. I think we will definitely get a lawn person to come and weed on a monthly basis when we are not here next year. After setting everything up just perfect, we relaxed that night. The next day I (Barbie) got out and weeded the front garden and the left side of the lot. The stickers on the weeds were sticking to my shirt. It took a long time to get them off before I washed the shirt by hand. I didn’t want to wash it in the laundry house here because they would have stuck to the washing machine. I still have a bit more to do but it is looking so much better. After dealing with the weeds we had to deal with the SD satellite dish on the roof not working well. One of the trees have grown and thus a weak signal. We do have cable here so that was not a problem but we wanted the HD to work and wanted to be able to DVR some shows and watch them later and the only way that was going to get done was by adding an HD Slimline SWM dish to our site. We did that up in Dillard when we arrived up there in April. Jeff’s first call to DIRECTV resulted in the agent telling him we couldn’t do it without adding a separate new account here at Rock Crusher Canyon(RCC). Jeff argued with the person on the other line for about 15 minutes but she wouldn’t budge because her “supervisor” had directed her that it was the way it had to be done. So Jeff finally hung up and waited 30 minutes and called again. He had read on his RV.Forum website about others having the same issue. They just waited and talked to a different agent and lo and behold, NO PROBLEM the second time. So DIRECTV came out Friday evening and put in a SWM dish in the ground for us. It is now working without any problems. Now that the dish situation was fixed we had to fix the golf cart. We got it out of our utility trailer which is housed on our property when we are gone. We got it out but the batteries were all but dead. We tried the golf cart charger with no luck at all. It wouldn’t take a charge. Jeff got on the internet and found a video describing what we should do to get it charged enough so that the battery charger would work and the batteries would accept the charge. Since we have six- 8 volt batteries we had to buy a 24 volt charger. That way we could charge 3 batteries at a time wired in series. We needed a new charger anyway. He found it on Amazon and it was here in one day’s time. Well, we tried that route, success! After he got enough charge in the batteries to take a full charge from the golf cart charger, we charged it overnight. But when we went for a test ride the next day it almost died on us before we got back. It jerked and buckled and we thought for sure we would have to get it “towed” back to the site. We tried it (charging overnight) again on another day and it had the same result. These 5 year old batteries in the golf cart would no longer hold a charge. So Jeff got on the web again looking for places that sell those batteries and found three places. Of course they aren’t close by but he called them today to get the best price. Out of the three places the business in Brooksville would come out and take away the old and put in the new for $71 more than if we took them out, went to get them, and then installed them ourselves. Since they are heavy, we opted for them to come out on Wednesday and do the job. What is it with batteries? If you recall we had to install four new 12 volt batteries on the golf cart in Dillard this past April. Plus now our solar lights’ batteries have to be charged up before they will work on the 12 of them that we have on the property. I always take the batteries out and store them in a different location but I knew last year they were going bad. It is always something…..haha

Before we left for FL we got a phone call from Jeff’s cousin telling us his Uncle Pete in Claysburg, PA had passed on. We were saddened by that and we send our sympathy to his daughter and family. Uncle Pete was always a favorite of his. He was 92 years old. We also got word that a very special rving friend who got a lung transplant in August passed away last week at Duke University Hospital in NC. She developed a blood infection and was at Duke since August. Sherry Dilworth was a fighter and will be missed. We met her and her hubby Charley at a blogger get together of fulltime rvers in Lakeland, FL a couple of years ago. They had stayed in Rock Crusher for a month that year and had planned on staying three months last year but had to back out due to Sherry getting on the list for a lung transplant.

We stopped at Dan’s Clam Stand on Wednesday of last week and ate dinner there. DELICIOUS!!!! This is a FAVORITE of ours. We were longing for their clam chowder and shrimp so bad!!!! We found out they are closed on Sunday and Monday now. On Saturday, we headed for Kim’s Café for breakfast, our favorite breakfast spot. We had a good breakfast, but boy were they crowded. You can tell, we “snowbirds” are beginning to arrive. I have managed to cook a bit too since we got back. I made a homemade pizza in my toaster oven on Sunday and it was good! The only bad thing about the toaster oven is that Kozmo is scared to death of it. I put it outside and she still was shaking. But I didn’t want to use the convection oven since it doesn’t have a broiler feature on it.

Today is errand day so we will be heading out this afternoon. Maybe I can coax Jeff into a dinner somewhere??? Or maybe he wants the homemade chicken fettuccini that I have never cooked before???

Well, that gets us caught up. We won’t wait this long to blog again, I promise you. Even if nothing much is happening, we’ll find a line or two to blog.

‘Til next time……..

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What we’ve been up to…

Since it has been awhile since we posted, I thought I would catch you up with what we have been doing.

We did go to Gatlinburg on September 11 and had a great day! The weather was beautiful. We bought 11 candles of different scents. They are all soy candles which we prefer. So far our favorite scent is lemon grass. We visited the Crafters Loop in Gatlinburg and went into three candle shops. One candle shop called Dick and Marie’s has homemade canned items also. We bought some pumpkin butter which I really like but Jeff isn’t too fond of. We stopped at Misty Mountain Soap Company and bought some Mountain Energy lotion and Wild Berry lotion. The Mountain Energy has a citrus, predominantly orange scent. It really smells divine! After the loop we went to downtown Gatlinburg and noticed it was pretty busy for a Tuesday so we didn’t stop and shop. Next time we want to head to the Distillery that just opened up in town. Yep, they sell “shine.” Jeff wants to try it. We then headed to Pigeon Forge and noticed how crowded they were, also. Up and down the highway was an antique car/truck show going on. You could spend a whole day there and not see all of the vehicles that they were showing. A few of them looked like the American Pickers  tv show should buy and restore, but many of them were already restored and absolutely beautiful. It takes us two hours to get back to Dillard so we got back at 5:45 and just had some soup for dinner.

The next day, Wednesday, September 12, we had a great dinner at Lucios Italian Restaurant in Franklin with our friends Cheryl and Steve who own a site in River Vista. They have an absolutely loveable dog named McGee who gets along really well with Kozmo. The food was too much for me to eat and I brought about half of it home. I had the eggplant parmesan and loved it. They give you unlimited salad and garlic rolls with your meal. I was the only one to bring something back from the main entrée. Cheryl and Steve brought back a piece of crème brulee cheesecake and Jeff brought back a chocolate peanut butter piece of cheesecake. I also bought the same cheesecake that Cheryl and Steve bought. The desserts were OK, something I wouldn’t get again though. Great company and a great evening with Cheryl and Steve was what it was all about!

A couple who live in StrawBerry Ridge where we have our manufactured home in Valrico, Florida came up and stayed in their motorhome in River Vista. They visited with us for a couple of hours. Bill and Katherine were on their way back from Kentucky and this was their first stay at River Vista. It was strange seeing them because I was walking Kozmo one morning and I noticed a man just staring at me as I walked. Well, it was Bill and it was a pleasant surprise! They had a great time!

Our neighbors who are seven sites down from us had a yard sale last weekend. Bobbie and Frank are trying to sell their site and motorhome so they were getting rid of stuff they no longer needed. They were selling a four burner stainless steel gas grill that also had a side burner and a side rest stand. It came with a rotisserie and a 20 gallon filled propane tank. We took a look at it and it was in great shape so we bought it for a fantastic price! We grilled some chicken on it and just love it. They also threw in the cover for it so it will stay outside on the deck under cover when we leave for Florida. We are going to grill some Mojo chicken today on it and have some black beans and yellow rice to go along with it.

Our best friends Linda and Bill got here yesterday and stayed with us for about four hours before heading back to Auburndale, Florida. Two weeks ago they took the auto train out of Sanford, FL with their motorcycle and got off at the final destination for the train in Virginia. Then they proceeded on their bike to Maine where Linda’s Mom and Bill’s parents live. They were both born there and the pictures they sent back were gorgeous! Needless to say they had lobster that is dirt cheap up there, and really enjoyed their stay. They stopped here long enough for us to enjoy each other’s company and eat at Oinkers in Clayton on their way out. They were headed to Milledgeville, GA for the night and then should arrive back home on Friday. It is always so GREAT to see them. Linda retired in June from the same school that I taught at. Bill is still working at Customs in Orlando.

Our weather in Dillard is very nice. We did have some mornings in the 40’s that warmed up to the low 70’s with some beautiful breezes. You can tell JUST A LITTLE BIT that the trees are starting to change colors, or maybe it is my eyes that are seeing the colors and they aren’t really there??? October will be a busy month for us since Jeff has us doing a wine and cheese gathering the weekend of October 5 and a dance and beer fest on October 6. It will be OKTOBERFEST WEEKEND at River Vista. Jeff came up with the idea for the weekend and proposed it to the managers. They liked it and gave the go ahead. Check out the video Jeff made to promote it on the internet on the River Vista Facebook site. Click the arrow to start it, then enlarge it in the lower right corner to see it full page.

Two weekends later a Bluebirds FMCA Club Rally with 75 coaches will be showing up in River Vista and Jeff will be giving them a Jimmy Buffet type of dance that they wanted. He was recommended to them by the office staff here at River Vista  last winter and they called him last February to book it. It should be a good crowd.  The following weekend is Halloween and Jeff will do his usual Halloween dance for kids first and then the adults. They’ll be costume contests for both adults and kids. The campground is booked to capacity for that weekend. Hopefully the following week we will be heading south. We think we are going to Navarre Beach in the panhandle to a campground that recently opened up called St. Rosa RV Resort. At least that is the plan for now.

Jeff’s computer has really been acting crazy for a month now and he finally succumbed to buying a new HP one.  Why didn’t he just take it to get repaired is a question that cannot be answered. But then again it is old!  He ordered it from Best Buy and it should be in next week in Waynesville for us to pick up. I am so afraid that his old one will die when he is DJ’ing a dance and then he will have to use mine, which does not have all the songs he will need, plus it does NOT have the Virtual DJ software that he desperately needs.

We travelled to Hiawassee on Wednesday and bought two pumpkins, some apples and peanuts from a neat road stand. I thought we would travel back by using a scenic route that we had not been on called Persimmon Creek Road. Well, we travelled on it for a while and it was OK but then we started to use the GPS to get us back to Dillard. It took us on a narrow gravel road up in the mountains for 7 miles. I was NOT going to drive that for 7 miles so I kept looking for a way to back out and go back down. I found a very narrow space that I had to pull back and forward about 6 times and was very happy that I did. That was about 7/10 of a mile of hard driving with bumps and trying to miss tree limbs in the road. I know Jeff’s back was killing him every time I moved the truck and I was only going about 8 – 10 miles per hour in first gear. NEVER again!!! Kozmo probably thought we were crazy since she was bouncing up and down too!

I got rid of our vegetable garden since it did not produce much of anything to write about. I will try harder next year and not try to plant so many different vegetables and use a different method than what I did this year. Pitiful gardener I was for sure this year.

I am going to stop and enjoy the rest of the day!

‘Til next time….

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Since Labor Day Weekend

Jeff did a great job with the DJ’ing this past Saturday evening in front of the Mountain Center in River Vista Campground in Dillard, Georgia. We had some technical difficulties the first 20 minutes but cleared them up. Since we use the River Vista sound system when we are up here it takes a longer period of time to set up. They have more equipment than we do and it sounds about the same as ours but it is more convenient to use theirs while we are here. You wouldn’t believe how many kids were in the campground over the three day holiday! The park was packed except for three empty sites so it was a very successful weekend. One of the things that River Vista does is a tie dye activity on Saturday mornings for anyone who wants to shell out $2.00 to make one. It was very crowded! We think about 125 shirts were made down by the stream by mostly children with the help of their parents and River Vista workcampers. The pool was very crowded since it was a very nice day. They also had hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans and a pasta salad for $5.00 to anyone that wanted to eat it at 5:30 in the Mountain Center. We went and were disappointed by the turn out of people that were there. We estimated about 65 people were there. They made enough food for 400 so there were lots leftover. They froze the meat which will be used in October. The manager gave us some pasta salad and meat and it is very good!

The dance went from 7 to 10 and was a success! Kids were coming up to Jeff like he was a famous DJ and were enamored by him. I told Jeff he should make up some autographs of himself and the equipment and sign it for the little kids that want them. One girl was so cute! She came up to Jeff and asked a request and made sure that he knew that she knew him from two years ago when he did a dance here. Well, he didn’t do any dances here two years ago so it must have been last year. She and her friends were requesting songs that had already been played that night like the Cupid Shuffle for one. Adults were also around dancing up to the oldies of the 50’s and 60’s with a lot of energy. Kozmo was in her usual place under the table and just taking it all in.

Sunday evening into Monday morning brought lots of rain. I felt sorry for the people that had to leave Monday morning to go home since it was a real wet mess outside. The rain from that day followed into Tuesday and a bit on Wednesday morning. We are done with the rain as of now and looking forward to lower temperatures by this coming Sunday. We are supposed to get lows in the lower 50’s and a high of 72 for the day. We think we are going to Gatlinburg early in the next week for the day to do some shopping in the Crafters Loop and probably head to Pigeon Forge to see what is happening there. And yes, Kozmo will come with us!

Well, I (Jeff) didn’t finish this blog entry last week. So to update it, I can report that yesterday, Tuesday, we made our two hour trip through the Great Smoky Mountain Park from Cherokee over to Gatlinburg. The weather was outstanding. Our main purpose to travel to Gatlinburg was to drive through the Glades Road Arts and Crafts Community. There are about 100 shops where crafters sell their wares. We particularly go to three shops, two soy candle shops and one shop that makes their own lotions, soaps, etc. We tried the soy candles a few years ago and really prefer them over all others. There are many reasons we prefer the soy candles, here are some of the reasons:

  • Made with 100% natural soybean base & premium botanical fragrance oils
  • Unlike paraffin, soy is not made from crude oil
  • Reduces dependency on foreign oil & it's effects, while burning cleaner, & creating a greener environment
  • Contains no pesticides or herbicides
  • Burns longer and cooler than paraffin
  • Use melted soy as a lotion, great moisturizer for your skin. Only burns a little warmer than your body temp.
  • Cleans up with soap & water
  • Made with domestically grown crops supporting our U.S. farmers & our economy

    Here are the two shops we buy them at (they have some different scents we like at each shop).

    Dick and Marie’s Candles and More Than a Candle.

    The other shop we love to shop at is Misty Mountain Soap Company. They make handmade soaps, lotions. bath products and other items. Check out their website. We’ll probably make one more trip to Gatlinburg before we head south for the winter.

    Tonight we are going to dinner with friends, Steve and Cheryl, who own a site in the River Vista section of the resort. They winter in Titusville, FL, at The Great Outdoors, where they own a site. We are going up the road to Franklin to an Italian eatery we really like. We’ll report on that next time.

    That’s about all the news for right now. So until next time….

  • Monday, August 27, 2012

    Busy 12 Days

    The past twelve days have flown by. We’ve traveled about 1200 miles down to the sticks-n-bricks home in Valrico, FL and back up to our site here in Dillard, GA. Actually the trip down and back was made from Sunday, August 19, and we pulled back in up here in our Falls View site in River Vista Mountain Village Friday, the 24th at 5:30PM. It is about a 9 hour and 15 minute drive but with a gas stop and a stop to get a bite to eat and a quick walk for Kozmo, it is a 10 and 1/2 hour journey each way. I (Jeff) drove the entire way down, but on the way back I drove the first three hours, then Barbie took the wheel for 6 hours before I drove the last hour and a half.

    The main reason for the trip down was that I had my regularly scheduled 6 month check-up with my doctor.  On the last blog entry, we mentioned I had done my blood work up here in Seneca, SC, 9 days before my doctor’s appointment. The appointment went well. All of the results were good, so I’m good to go for another 6 months. HOORAY! Barbie really worked hard in the four days we had there. She pulled the wild grass and weeds from our yard areas and sprayed the area with Round-Up Extended Control. That should keep the area looking ok until we return in November. She also went through cabinets in the kitchen and did a lot of “purging”. Let’s put it this way- 5 large green garbage bags were placed out for the garbage truck Tuesday and another 4 were left for the Saturday pick-up. We also attacked my “old” clothes that were on the bed in the second bedroom. We went through them and filled 4 of the large green bags with my not needed big men’s clothing and donated them to Goodwill. So we did make a dent in some work we needed to do around the house. Barbie also managed to have lunch and spent an afternoon visiting with her BFF, Linda. We didn’t buy groceries so we ate out at some of our favorites in the area, Chipoltes, Tijuana Flats, Romanos and La Septima. So we managed to get some good Mexican food, Greek food and Cuban/Spanish food while in town. We also stocked up on Dunkin Donuts coffee by getting a deal on 4 – one pound bags of our favorite coffee for $25.99. There are NO Dunkin Donuts’ stores anywhere near Dillard so we’d have to pay somewhere around $8.00 for only 12 ounces at the local Ingles Supermarket where Barbie loves to shop.

    I do know TWO things that I certainly do NOT miss about the Valrico area. One, the traffic. OMG, the traffic is crazy in that area and I think it has gotten worse since we left to fulltime in our rv in June 2010. The second thing is the humidity of Florida in the summer. Geez, it was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Plus, there were the daily afternoon thundershowers. And, if Kozmo could talk, she’d give you a piece of her mind about them. Poor thing, she shook more in 4 days than she has all summer in Dillard. Then of course, the icing on the cake, a storm named Isaac was projected to head straight for Florida and for certain impact the Tampa Bay area. Since then the storm has steered further west so the Tampa Bay area was spared of the major effects of the storm. So between Isaac and the Republican National Convention coming to Tampa, we were glad to head north early Friday morning.

    We did hear some tragic news the day before we left to head back to Dillard. We got a call from one of our Falls View neighbors and he informed us that one of the members of our community took his own life. Needless to say we were shocked and saddened by the news. I plan to attend the memorial service tomorrow.

    We were surprised to discover that two of our winter neighbors at Rock Crusher Canyon in Crystal River were camping here at River Vista when we returned. So, we had a great visit with Lee and Mary Saturday afternoon before they moved on Sunday. We’ll see them again when they return to Rock Crusher Canyon in January.

    This weekend is Labor Day weekend and the campground has a waiting list for sites. So with a full campground Big Daddy DJ hopes to have a great crowd for our “Street Dance” Saturday evening. I’ll let you know how it went and have pictures in the next post.

    So, ‘til next time……

    Wednesday, August 15, 2012

    Winery Visits

    We had a lovely time this past Saturday, August 11, at a new 12 Sisters Winery in Dillard, Georgia. We started out our day at Annette’s Café by eating a great lunch. Jeff had the chicken fried steak, collard greens and a salad. I had the country fried steak sandwich with squash. I had made a small carrot cake the day before to bring a piece to the waiter named Kenneth. He loved the wacky cake I had made Jeff on his birthday and Jeff told him that I make a “mean” carrot cake. So we took a piece to him and he was very appreciative of it. After lunch, we headed to the winery. Apparently from 1 to 4 PM that day, three wineries in Rabun County were offering a sampling of their wines. We chose the 12 Sisters Winery since it was their grand opening. The place was very nice with beautiful views.

    12 Sisters 1     12 Sisters 3

    They have a small shop inside a barn that had a beautiful bar area. We paid $5.00 to sample up to four wines and we got to keep the glass. All of their wines are dry except for one which is slightly sweet. Since I don’t like dry wines I told the server to give me the slightly sweet one. It was a nice wine but not something I would buy. Jeff tried the dry rose type and he didn’t like it. Then he tried the same wine as I did and felt the same way about it. It was OK but definitely not one we would buy. We sat outside under a table umbrella and enjoyed the scenery.

    12 Sisters 6    12 Sisters 4

    They had a canopy with seating under it plus a couple of chairs out in the open. The temperature was in the low 80’s and the place was not crowded. As a matter of fact, we saw more people who worked there than customers while we were there. We did find out from our server that she lived in the Forest Hills section of Tampa and her children graduated from Chamberlain High School. As we were leaving we spoke with one of the graduates and she was there when Jeff was an Assistant Principal, but she didn’t remember him. The other graduated after Jeff left Chamberlain for Riverview in 2001.  Needless to say, we won’t be going back to the winery since we didn’t really enjoy the wines. Their price for a bottle was $14.00 which wasn’t too bad a price. You just need to love dry wines.

    We traveled to South Carolina on Monday, August 13, for Jeff’s 11:45 appointment at Lab Corp. Since he has his six month check-up in Valrico on August 23, he needed to get his lab work done up here so the results would be to his doctor when Jeff arrives for his appointment. What a challenge it was to find a Lab Corp business in this NE Georgia mountains area. There was one in Hiawassee, GA, but we think that was at the hospital, so we ruled that one out. The one in Seneca, South Carolina, was only an hour away. We had not been to that area for over 11 years, so it was a great trip. We left at 9:20 and got there at 10:25. As we were going through Seneca we noticed that there were many chain restaurants, retail stores and of course a Super Wal-Mart. The place was very nice! We went to the Lab Corp first in hopes of maybe getting in before the appointment time since we were early. Jeff took one step in and noticed the place was packed. He decided to wait until his appointment time. So we headed back on the By Pass 123 road and stopped at Pet Smart. We had Kozmo with us, of course, and she stayed in the truck with Jeff while I shopped for her. I picked up some new dog food for her since she got tired of the Rachel Ray food she had been eating for a month. I also got her something called Boo Bars, a snack treat, which has pumpkin and cinnamon in it. She loves it! It is made by Blue Buffalo. After shopping there we went to the Bank of America. The Bank of America that is closest to us is in Highlands, North Carolina, which is about a half hour away. This bank is beautiful and I could tell it is brand new. There was no waiting line and the people were very friendly. By the time that task was done we headed back to Lab Corp and got there at 11:17. Jeff came back out at 12:10. Apparently there was only one technician working in there. She had to sign people in, and then take them back on an individual basis to draw their blood. Jeff inquired and found that the other person who usually works there had broken her hand over the weekend, so this lady was on her own. Poor thing! Jeff said she was already tired by noon but was very friendly and upbeat. We will definitely go back there when blood work has to be done again while we are here in Dillard.

    Since Jeff had to fast for his blood work to be done, we headed to get something to eat. We wanted to eat at Chick Fil-A but I could not believe the lines inside and out. So we headed down the road to Zaxbys. The food is always good at any Zaxbys that we have visited.

    After lunch, we headed back towards Dillard. On the way back we stopped in Long Creek, South Carolina, at another winery called Chatooga Belle Farm. This place is outstanding! The views are magnificent! See for yourselves.

    Chatooga Belle Farm 3    Chatooga Belle Farm 1

    They have a small “farm” store inside a gigantic new barn. They have been here for three years and the place is immaculate. We bought two wines. One is a muscadine and the other is a scuppernong. Since they are dog friendly we walked Kozmo around the premises and sat down and just enjoyed the view.

    Barbie & Kozmo @ Chatooga Belle Farm 1    Jeff & Kozmo @ Chatooga Belle Farm

    The temperature was about 79 degrees and very comfortable. Apples are in season and although they had some there we opted to not get any this time. They had fresh raspberries you could pick yourselves as well. The place can also be rented for events like weddings, parties etc. We tried the muscadine wine last night and it was quite good! The price on it was $16 and we would definitely go back there and buy some. They also had some canned vegetables, jellies, ciders, souvenir items and literature about the area.

    Well, as much as we dread the thought of it, we are headed to Valrico this coming Sunday and will stay there about 4 – 5 nights. It is time for Jeff’s six month check-up. We are not looking forward to the humidity in Florida this time of year. But, I will be able to see my great friend Linda while we are there and probably have some house cleaning to do while we are there.

    ‘Til next time…

    Sunday, August 5, 2012

    Just Chillin’…AKA Not Doin’ Much

    Yeah, I know, it has been awhile since we posted so we’ll try to update you on our summer laid back, retirement lifestyle.

    Since we last posted, I suppose the biggest news is that Jeff celebrated his 60th birthday. We went out to eat at Fatz Café in Franklin, North Carolina on July 22, his birthday. They have Sunday “old fashioned” specials so Jeff ordered pot roast that came with mashed potatoes, green beans, cole slaw, and their great rolls. It was very good! I had the basa fish with a baked potato and a salad. We were very good …..we passed on dessert. :-) Well, we weren’t that good,  because I had made Jeff a chocolate “wacky cake” with chocolate peanut butter icing that he loves so much. We actually gave the last piece a few days later to the waiter  that serves us regularly at Annette’s Café . Kenneth is a good fellow who always clowns around and serves us well when we eat there. Overall, Jeff‘s  birthday was a quiet one. I think his 60th birthday was an awakening that, yes, we are getting a bit older.

    A couple days before Jeff’s 60th, we went to our neighbor’s retirement party in Franklin, North Carolina at a place called Chris and Charlie’s on July 19. Our neighbor, Charlie, was the postmaster at the Rabun Gap post office in Rabun Gap, Georgia, which is about 5 minutes away from us. About 42 people from River Vista were there. The service and food was excellent! They have about a dozen beers on tap from regional micro-breweries. We tried one from Raleigh, NC that had a hint of cherry taste to it. It was quite tasty! I had a delicious salad and Jeff had something called the Fat Italian flatbread sandwich. It was very good. As a result of the retirement party Jeff decided to develop a Facebook page for the Falls View Community (which is the name of our owners section in River Vista). You can view it on Facebook, if you have a Facebook account, under “Falls View Community, Dillard, GA”. Jeff has placed information and pictures on the site for anyone to enjoy. He did a great job of it, too! Go check it out!

    We went to Lowe’s this week and purchased some equipment for me to use when I tie-dye shirts and bandanas. I have two shirts that I want to do and have three bandanas to make for Jeff. I hope I don’t mess it up but if I do, the material that I buy at WalMart is cheap. We have found many designs on-line that help us decide how to create something “far out” but nice. I just have to get more nerve and try them out. I have seen some shirts that lost their color and I don’t want mine to look like that. So I have to research a bit more before trying some more.

    I bought a book that is called EBAY for Dummies and am really enjoying it. As soon as I have finished it, by not only reading it but highlighting and making notes on it, I will try to sell some items that we don’t need anymore. My first item will be a “Giggles Doll” that I made about 12 years ago. I made four dolls. I gave one to my mother and grandmother and kept the other two. I got my grandmother’s back after she passed on and that one is going to be a keeper because it is so cute. I had also purchased clothes from consignment shops that sell baby items at very reasonable prices. I will post some of the pictures later on after we take a few, so you can see how cute these dolls are. Here they are:

    Doll 1   Doll closeup

    A neighbor where our house is in Valrico taught me how to make the dolls. She made over 200 of them a long time ago. She has since moved out of StrawBerry Ridge due to her health. She was selling them for over $100 a piece back then. I won’t do that in this market now because I know they won’t sell for that. Anyone out there ever make dolls? Oh yes, my mother has a collection of various dolls. I think she must have close to 200 or so. They were all bought or were gifts. Some of them she bought in Germany since she was born and raised over there.

    The big excitement in Dillard this weekend is the Dillard Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival. We’ll check it out tomorrow. This event is the Kansas City Barbeque Society Georgia State Championship. Held adjacent to the Dillard House, the Dillard Barbecue and Bluegrass Festival started in 1997 and has grown to what it is today through the hard work, dedication, and efforts of many volunteers and BBQ enthusiasts from around the country. Each year people come from across the nation to compete in this once a year event, and to listen to real Bluegrass music played by numerous bands from all over, and to savor the mouth watering smells and sights of smoking meats of all kinds. There also are crafters who set up booths and sell their wares. There are always lots to do and things to see for the whole family at this wonderful event. The cooking rigs are a sight to behold, and the vendors serving the many foods and delicasies are some of the best in the world. And, needless to say, the smells are wonderful. Nearly $10,000 in prize money is awarded in categories involving beef brisket, chicken, pork and pork ribs. They even award desserts. Needless to say attendees may pay to “sample” the teams entries. It’s making me hungry writing about it! We’ll follow up with this story next time.

    ‘Til next time…..

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    Dancin’ AND the Rain

    The title of this entry is correct- “Dancin’ AND the Rain”, not “Dancin’ IN the Rain.” You’ll see why momentarily.

    It has been awhile since we posted, since before the July 4th holiday. On July 3, Jeff was in charge in the Mountain Village Center in River Vista of the game “Name That Tune” contest. About 25 people showed up and they had a great time.

    DJ Setup     Name That Tune2, July 2012

    Jeff played about 30 seconds of 25 songs (plus one tie-breaker), that people had to guess the song’s title. He included songs from the sixties to current Billboard #1 songs, including rock and country hits. Many people were guessing the groups who sang the songs but there was one family (Mom, Dad, and daughter) who had 23 correct out of the 25 and won the grand prize ribbon. There were two second place winners with 19 correct answers. The third place winner had 10 correct.  The campground was probably a little over half full for the days before and after the fourth of July. We think that folks had to work either the first two days of the week or the last two days. The 4th being in the middle of the week kept the campground from being full. The pool was actually doing a big business with kids and their parents because it was extremely hot up here in Dillard. We had three days straight where the temps were at 100. The high here was 100 for two of those days. We were using both air conditioners in the rig which made it very nice inside. We couldn’t even stay outside on our covered deck because of the heat.

    The campground hosted a barbeque dinner on July 4th and a covered dish meal on the 5th where they supplied meatballs and hoagie rolls for sandwiches and everyone else needed to bring a covered dish to share. Both of those meals were quite tasty and enjoyed by all.

    The week of the 4th was also filled with lots of activities for kids and adults to enjoy. Plus, a golf cart & bicycle parade is always a tradition at River Vista on the 4th.

    FV Mixons, July 2012 Parade    FV Rambos, July 2012 Parade

    Jeff DJ’ed the dance that was held on Saturday, July 7. It was held outside and people had a blast dancing in the street in front of the Mountain Village Center. You see the Mountain Village Center has heat but no air conditioning inside. It was cooler outside for sure. There were lots of people dancing and having a great time. We had Kozmo with us even though it was warm outside. She stays under the table and watches everything going on.

    FV Big Daddy DJ, July 2012   FV Dancers July 2012, 2

    Street Dancers 5, July 2012  Street Dancers 7, July 2012

    Street Dancers 11, July 2012  Under the DJ Table

    The managers put a huge fan on us and that helped us out. Jeff DJ’ed for three hours and the work campers and managers helped us put the equipment away in less than 10 minutes. They even gave us some free ice cream during the dance. Our work campers are the greatest this season.

    This past week we have been swamped with rain. We managed to go out on Sunday to Clayton to eat at Mishima Express and then stopped at Dairy Queen for their peanut butter bash sundae. We are trying to limit the amount of times a month we have sweets and it seems to be working. On Monday, I spoke with my great friend Linda, who lives in Auburndale, Florida, for over an hour. She and her husband Bill are getting ready to head to Siesta Key for a week in their time share that they own. After talking to her we headed for Highlands, North Carolina to do some banking. We decided to head to Franklin on our way back and stopped at a restaurant called Livingstons. They advertise great Cuban sandwiches. Well, we didn’t care for them. Apparently they have pork that is barbequed and it was strange tasting. We won’t go back there again. I guess if we want a good cuban sandwich we’ll have to get it in the Tampa area when we are back in Florida.

    The heavy rains came from Tuesday through this Saturday morning. I was headed by myself to Ingles to grocery shop on Tuesday afternoon and almost turned around because of the terrible storm that I was going through. However, since it was only a ten minute drive I continued on hoping that it would be better in Clayton. It was much better when I arrived. Jeff said that it was a terrible storm in Dillard. Of course, Kozmo stuck to him like glue since she doesn’t like thunder. There were reports of 60 mile per hour winds in the area. Luckily nothing was damaged by us. During the morning hours Saturday, a strong thunder storm came through and lasted from 3AM to about 6AM. If you had ever been in a motel years ago and put in a quarter in a machine to get the bed to vibrate, then you know how we felt because Kozmo was the “little vibrating machine”. After walking around this morning we found lots of water down by the stream. We even have water behind our site that looks like a small stream. It is actually only a drainage ditch between our property and the road. We are on a severe flood warning for the area. Below are pictures uphill from our site and downhill.

    Drainage stream 2      Drainage stream 1

    We had a fantastic country fried steak sandwich at Annettes’ Café on Thursday of this week. The waiter, Kenneth, said he thinks it is the best sandwich around, and he was right. Jeff put swiss cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, mayo and bacon on his and I had it without the bacon and cheese and it was delicious! The bun was toasted which made it even better tasting. The café folks all know our names now and they even know what we like to drink when we come in. They make you feel like family and that makes for a nice atmosphere.

    Other news, we bought Kozmo a stuffed animal that looks like a rabbit since she loves to go rabbit “hunting” at dusk. Since she doesn’t play with toys, we are slowly introducing her to “Rudy the Rabbit” in hopes she takes a liking to him. So far she doesn’t dislike him but we figured she must not have had toys with her previous owner.  We have tried rawhide chews as well, but she doesn’t seem to like them either. She just loves to be rubbed and gets all of our attention whenever she looks at us. Yes, she is spoiled!

    Lastly, we are expecting a short visit from one of Jeff’s former guidance counselors Thursday of this week. She is heading back home to Tampa after attending another former co-workers wedding in Ohio. We will visit and share a lunch with her. She stopped by for a short visit last summer as well.

    We hope you are having great weather and enjoying yourselves wherever you are. We are getting lots of reading done. As a matter of fact, I finally finished the 820 page novel, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson. That was a difficult one to read, but I really enjoyed it. Has anyone read his three books? Has anyone read the Fifty Shades of Gray books? I haven’t and wondered if somebody out there is brave enough to say how they feel about it. I’d like to know what all the fuss is about.

    ‘Til next time….

    Monday, June 25, 2012

    Just Watchin’ the Flowers Grow

    We haven’t posted since June 5 because we really haven’t been doing much except growing flowers and vegetables. The pictures below are evidence of our work. Check out the before and after photos of the herbs and veggie garden, The first picture was taken June 3 and the second June 24.

    Herbs 6-3    Herbs 6-24

    Veggies 6-3    Veggies 6-24

    Next, check out the tomatoes and flowers.

    Tomatoes    Planter 1

    Barrel 1    Barrel 2

    Deck ferns 1 Hanging ferns on coach house.

    The swallows that built the nest in the corner of the deck roof on a beam, have fledged. But the funny thing is three out of the four come back at night to where the nest “used” to be. I moved it to a tree after noticing that they didn’t come back one night. I figured they were done with the nest and I wanted to move it and clean the area-they do make a mess. Well, they are still coming back. We guess they are so young and don’t know where else to go to sleep. When I moved the nest I was so amazed at how intricate it was built. My surprise was there was an egg in it. It was probably one that didn’t make it to hatch. After they fledged I cleaned off the deck so that almost all of the bird droppings were gone. We don’t want any more nests in the coach house area because they make big messes. Plus, we are afraid they might get into the ceiling fan and kill themselves. Now the only thing we have to be a little concerned about are the rabbits that are going under the deck. We know they are there because Kozmo smells them and is on point before and after our walks. She just loves going on “rabbit hunts” even though she just looks at them.

    You know we have to eat to survive, so we have still been going out about three to four times a week to our favorite places. Since Annette’s’ Café was closed for vacation for 11 days, we got our fix twice this past week on Wednesday and Friday. Last night I grilled some chicken and had crispy, fried okra with a salad. It was so delicious! Today, Sunday, we went to La Cabana in Dillard. It is a Mexican place that we haven’t been to this season. We shared chicken fajitas for two and they were very good.

    I got very motivated this past week and made homemade bread. On Monday, I made a white bread. It came out small but it was good. On Wednesday I made two loaves of Amish White Bread and reduced the amount of sugar to 1/3 of a cup instead of the 2/3 cup it called for and it was absolutely delicious!

    Bread Amish White Bread

    When we toasted it, it was out of this world. But, of course, I must try my hand at honey wheat bread which is healthier for us in the next day or two. As you can see by the picture, the bread looked great! I used to make bread in my bread maker when we lived at the Valrico house. No room for a bread maker in the rv. I made beer cheese bread, rye bread and of course white bread with it. It always seemed to not last due to getting spoiled. But with this bread that I knead by hand, it has lasted four days and has not gone bad at all. Any frustrations that I have can be taken out on the kneading, which is hard on the hands for ten minutes. But, the outcome is worth it.

    I finally went to the tie-dye activity on Saturday here in the park. It costs $2 to use their dyes and I bought my own white t-shirt from Fred’s Discount Store that cost $7, so I got a good deal. As you can see from the picture, I didn’t do too badly.

    Tie dye front    Tie dye back

    I read on the internet some other methods that I might try next time. The only stupid thing I did this time was to put my bare hand in the dye and not use a latex glove. After one of the work campers told me she had gloves, I put them on and wore them. But my right hand was all purple. She said it would eventually go away within two days. Well, after using soap and baking soda, and also bathing Kozmo yesterday, the dye is gone. About 10 people showed up to make the shirts and it got very hot from 10am to noon. I actually had to stop and towel dry my face because the sweat was just running down onto my glasses. We are amazed that it is that hot up here, like 93 degrees in the mountains. But, we wouldn’t trade it for Florida because even though it is hot it is not humid. We enjoy sitting on the deck in the evenings and with the ceiling fan on, it is quite comfortable.

    Jeff will be DJ’ing on July 3 and July 7. He is going to do a Name That Tune game on July 3 by playing about 10 songs or so and people have to guess the songs. A prize will be awarded for the winner(s). On July 7, he is playing for three hours from 7 to 10. We hope there will be lots of people around for the activities.

    We hope the weather is fine for your travels or wherever you are parked for the summer. Right now we are concerned about our friends in Florida watching Tropical Storm Debby create havoc.

    ‘Til next time……